Austria’s Burgenland region is stepping up the development of renewable energies. Three new wind farms with a total capacity of 198 MW will become operational by 2013. The European Investment Bank (EIB) is granting a EUR 200 million to Burgenländische Elektrizitätswirtschaft AG (BEWAG) to finance the project alongside Austria’s UniCredit Leasing.

Burgenland is a renewables pioneer. It already meets two thirds of its energy needs from alternative sources and its strong focus on research and technology makes it a model European region in this field.

The BEWAG project signed today is also groundbreaking. The fact that it uses a commercial wind turbine with a capacity of 7.5 MW for the first time was decisive for the EIB’s involvement. The project will be located in Potzneusiedl in the east of Burgenland. The same type of turbine, albeit with a capacity of 6 MW, has already long been successfully employed. Two large wind farms in Andau/Albrechtsfeld (41 turbines with an installed capacity of 123 MW) and Mönchhof/Halbturn (17 turbines with an installed capacity of 51 MW) will also be financed by the loan. A further six turbines (13.8 MW) will be installed in Kittsee and one (2.3 MW) in Deutschkreutz. UniCredit Bank Austria, which is responsible for the refinancing alongside the EIB, will bear the risk on the overall project.

At the signing ceremony, EIB Vice-President Wilhelm Molterer said that “Burgenland provides a model for both the range of renewables and the state-of-the-art technologies used in power generation. BEWAG plays a major role in this – making it an ideal partner for the EIB, which supports the development of this sector in Europe with its targeted loans.“

The EIB has dramatically increased its support for renewables since late 2006, boosting its lending for projects in the sector from EUR 400 million in that year to EUR 5.6 billion in 2010.

Second wind power programme

By 2015 Austrian Wind Power will install around 90 wind turbines with a total capacity of 270 MW – especially on the Parndorf Plateau. Once all the projects have been implemented, Austrian Wind Power will operate wind farms with an installed capacity of 520 MW (existing 242 MW + planned 270 MW).

The launch of construction of the world’s two biggest wind power plants in May this year marked the start of the BEWAG Group’s second wind power programme. According to BEWAG’s chairman Michael Gerbavsits: “With these wind turbines we are seeing tomorrow’s wind technology today. As Austria’s biggest wind power producer, we are pioneering the use of state-of-the-art technology. This is symbolised by these turbines, which represent maximum energy efficiency as they require the least possible floor space.“ The two super wind turbines are finished and ready for operation. The first will be up and running in December, and the second will follow in January.

Wind power is quickly available

In the words of BEWAG executive Reinhard Schweifer: “This shows that wind power is now the most sensible alternative energy: wind turbines can be erected very quickly and are highly efficient. These two plants can supply the regional capital Eisenstadt with power.“ The aim of the “2013“ strategy is to meet all of the region’s energy needs with renewables. In this way Burgenland is becoming a European leader in the wind power sector. And BEWAG is the region’s most important partner in this project.